Today I participated in an online conference focused on advancing workplace diversity, equity and inclusion. The speakers ranged from academics, advocates, business and public sector leaders, and innovators. And there’ll be more again tomorrow.

Many of the speakers had a lived experience of being disadvantaged because of the labels that get attached to them. Labels that tag their sexuality, faith, age, gender, ethnicity, etc with both real and imagined meaning.

Listening to the amazing life experiences and ideas being shared during the conference got me thinking about the labels I wear and what they mean to me and others. I am Australian by birth, or is that origin? Most of my forebears are Irish with a touch of English…so am I from Ireland/UK? I don’t feel it. And I don’t know what “Australian” means – I am too removed from the Old World to go back to where those forebears came from, and too newly supplanted to be of the land.

Where are you from?
I am from an arid land
and from where I now stand
I am from both long ago and yesterday
From the dreams that swept people away.

I am from your imagination
and my own explanation
I am from somewhere
that feels like nowhere

I am from the colonial expansion
And economic exploitation
I am from a broken history
and a future yet to be.
Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on

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